Domestic and Economic Policy, Education and School Choice, In The News

School Choice Week 2012 Wraps Up

2012′s National School Choice Week concluded on Sunday, marking what organizers have called “the largest celebration of education reform” in the nation’s history. The week featured more than 400 events spanning all 50 states, up from last year’s 200 events in 40 states.

This year, governors and lawmakers in 28 states and territories issued official School Choice Week proclamations. “Every child, no matter what their zip code, deserves a quality education,” New Jersey Governor Chris Christie declared last week. “With more than 100,000 children trapped in nearly 200 chronically failing schools in New Jersey, the need for education reform has never been greater.”

Andrew Campanella, Vice President of Public Affairs for National School Choice Week, noted that participation in the events transcended party lines. “We’ve seen everyone from Bill Cosby, to James Carville, to Joe Trippi, to Dick Morris, to Juan Williams, to Michelle Bernard – and so many others – stand up and strongly support the rights of parents, and that’s a good thing!”

Even The Temptations were “in” for School Choice Week (as shown in the video above). The Motown band headlined a National School Choice Week kickoff rally in New Orleans on January 22. According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, the event drew roughly 2,500 attendees.

80% of New Orleans students now attend charter schools – in contrast to a mere 3% nationally. Since the district was effectively “charterized” in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, student achievement levels have markedly risen. According to Louisiana Schools Chief John White, student proficiency has “more than doubled” post-Katrina.

Many school choice proponents now view New Orleans as an educational model for the nation. “New Orleans has demonstrated the power of relinquishing power back to educators and parents – it is the one city in the country where parents are in control of their children’s educational destiny,” said Neerav Kingsland of New Schools for New Orleans. “It is a moral imperative that other cities follow suit.”

Robert Enlow, CEO of the Foundation for Educational Choice, agreed with Kingsland. “New Orleans was an excellent place to kick off National School Choice Week because it’s an example of a place where families have meaningful options” Enlow said. “At a time when educational choice is, as Milton Friedman predicted years ago, spreading like wildfire, it’s exciting to see families exercising choice and students flourishing.”

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